The Doors were an American rock band, active in the late 1960s and early 1970s and often considered as pioneers of acid-rock, blues-rock and psychedelia. The Doors comprised vocalist Jim Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore. The Doors released nine studio albums, many of which achieved platinum status, and left a trail of memorable singles including 'Light My Fire', 'Break on Through (To the Other Side)' and 'Riders on the Storm'. Throughout their career The Doors exuded an aura of 'sex, drugs and rock'n' roll', culminating in Morrison's death in 1971.
Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek met at the UCLA Graduate School of Film in California and decided to form a band after Morison impressed Manzarek with an original poem entitled 'Moonlight Drive'. Manzarek, who was playing in another band at the time, poached John Densmore and Robby Krieger from the Psychedelic Rangers. Bassist Pat Sullivan, along with other musicians, helped the band to record a demo. By the end of 1965 the band had chosen a name (inspired by Aldous Huxley's book 'The Doors of Perception'), the line-up was complete, and The Doors were born.
In 1966 The Doors began playing live and supported Van Morrison's group Them at the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Strip. On the recommendation of Love's Arthur Lee they were snapped up by Elektra Records. Later that year, The Doors recorded their debut album and in January 1967 'The Doors' was released, reaching number two in the US chart. Although the lead single 'Break on Through (To the Other Side)' didn't break into the Top 100, its follow up 'Light My Fire' hit the number one spot. At the time The Doors were grouped with other 'counterculture' bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds.
The Doors' second album 'Strange Days', released in October 1967, was also well received, with the singles 'People Are Strange' and 'Love Me Two Times' both climbing high in the charts.
By the time their next album, 'Waiting for the Sun', was released in 1968, however, Morrison was drinking heavily and many of The Doors' shows were descending into riots. Morrison was arrested for public obscenity and disorderly conduct, and The Doors' first European tour ended with his drug-induced collapse in Amsterdam. 'Waiting for the Sun' featured Morrison's mythical alter ego, the 'Lizard King', and spawned the number one single 'Hello, I Love You'.
Morrison's on-stage behaviour became increasingly erratic, veering between total disinterest and emotional outbursts, often screaming at the audience. Following a particularly outrageous gig in Miami, Florida, a warrant was put out for Morrison's arrest, causing promoters to cancel The Doors' upcoming shows.
'The Soft Parade' was released in June 1969 and although the first single to be taken from it, 'Touch Me', reached number three in the charts, successive singles failed to do as well. 1970 saw The Doors release their fifth studio album, 'Morrison Hotel', which steered away from the previous album's experimental territory, and towards a heavier blues-rock sound. The Doors continued in this vein with 1971's 'L.A. Woman' which produced the top twenty singles 'Love Her Madly' and 'Riders on the Storm' and was warmly received by critics and fans alike.
During the summer of 1970 The Doors performed at the Isle of Wight Festival alongside Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Joni Mitchell. In December that year, at the Warehouse in New Orleans, The Doors played their last ever show, during which Morrison had a breakdown on stage. Consequently, The Doors decided to retire from performing live and Morrison moved to Paris to concentrate on his writing.
Jim Morrison's body was found in the bathtub in his apartment on 3rd July 1971. Although it was concluded that he died of a heart attack, rumours still circulate about the exact cause of his death at the age of twenty-seven.
In October 1971 the remaining members of The Doors, with Krieger and Manzarek now on vocals, released the album 'Other Voices'. This was followed by the final Doors' album 'Full Circle' in 1972.
The Doors continued to record as a trio and even toyed with the idea of recruiting Iggy Pop, but the band eventually split in 1973. Five years later, The Doors reunited to release 'An American Prayer', an album containing music recorded to accompany Morrison's poetry.
Numerous live albums, box sets and compilations by The Doors have been released over the years and, in 1991, Oliver Stone's film biography of the group, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison, was released, sparking a renewed interest in the band.